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Government boost for film industry

The Swiss film-making industry gets a boost Keystone

The culture minister, Ruth Dreifuss, says the government is planning a substantial increase in federal subsidies to the film industry.

Dreifuss told the Senate that the government would ask parliament to gradually increase the film budget over the next four years, from SFr21.5 million now to SFr32.5 million in 2004.

She admitted that although the increase was considerable, the level of subsidies remained modest. The funds are not only used to assist the production of films, but also go towards training and sponsoring film festivals.

Under the government’s proposals, the funds used to subsidise film production would increase from SFr13 million to SFr19.5 million by 2004.

A Radical Party member of the Senate from canton Fribourg, Anton Cottier, said the proposal still left Switzerland at the bottom end of the scale, compared to other countries of a similar size.

Cottier told the assembly Sweden spent more than SFr100 million on film annually, while the Danish budget was SFr45 million per year.

However, in view of the pledge made by Dreifuss, he said he would withdraw a motion calling on the government to do more.

Earlier this week, the cabinet put forward a draft law on the promotion of film in Switzerland, in which it backed away from the idea of raising a levy on blockbusters to subsidise film production.

The new law proposes that the film branch should be self-regulating, and would allow a levy to be imposed on cinemas which only showed blockbuster films.

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